Ex-trooper trial: Defendant said he was grabbing for cat when he touched girl

Ex-trooper trial: Defendant said he was grabbing for cat when he touched girl

The trial for former Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper Christopher Ward, who is accused of multiple sex crimes, continued Wednesday with testimony from alleged victims. Other evidence in the case also was shown in court.

  • Ward is charged with 5 counts of gross sexual imposition, 2 counts of sexual battery
  • There are six accusers, including a minor
  • Prosecutors say Ward "used his authority to sexually abuse these women"
  • Defense attorney says evidence will show Ward is innocent

UPDATE @ 9:01 p.m. (Dec. 11): Former state trooper Christopher Ward, in an interview with a state investigator, said he was grabbing at the family cat that was on a bed and not violating a 15-year-old girl who said Ward touched her as she slept in a bed with his daughter in March 2018.

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Ward told Special Agent Laetitia Schuler, the lead investigator with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation in the criminal case, he touched the girl but it was innocent.

The audio of the interview was played in court for Visiting Judge James Brogan, who is hearing the evidence in the case, and the courtroom gallery.

Schuler began looking into the case after Ward was accused of inappropriately touching the girl. That investigation led to the charges against Ward that involve five more females.

The girl testified Tuesday that she woke up twice to Ward touching her thigh. She said Ward was drunk and had been asleep on the floor next to the bed. She told the court the third time she woke up, Ward’s hand was down her pants. She said she rolled away.

“...So I get up and it’s on the bed...,” Ward said in the audio heard in court. “So I go to grab it -- it like trots. It gets up and trots to the head of the bed. So I go to the head of the bed to grab it and in doing so, her friend that was staying all night like rolls over towards me and I thought she woke up. I was gonna say ‘hey you know this cat let me get this cat out of the room, I’m sorry.... So I just grabbed the cat walked out and shut the door.”

Ward told Schuler he may have brushed up against the teenager’s shoulder as he was trying to get the cat out of the room.

In other testimony Wednesday, the judge heard from two more of Ward’s accusers.

One woman said Ward groped her during a pat-down on U.S. 35 in New Lebanon in 2015 that went too far.

The other woman said Ward physically forced her to perform a sex act on him in her pickup truck during a traffic stop.

Trial continues Thursday and by Friday could go to Judge Brogan, who will determine Ward’s guilt or innocence because Ward decided he did not want a jury deciding the case.

Brogan is likely to deliver his verdict in written form.

EARLIER REPORT

Multiple alleged victims in the case testified during the second day of the trial involving Ward, which began early Wednesday morning.

The bench trial is happening before visiting Judge James A. Brogan, who will ultimately decide whether to convict the formal trooper on the charges against him.

One of the alleged victims testified in detail a traffic stop, where she said Ward inappropriately touched her on U.S. 35 in Montgomery County in January 2015.

The woman described Ward being with a second man, which News Center 7 uncovered through its review of Ohio State Highway Patrol internal affairs was an OSHP intern.

The woman told the court she felt the pat down went too far and was sexual in nature.